Election Night guidelines: Obama will reach 2,118

As had been predicted for weeks, June 3rd marked the beginning of a superdelegate tsunami in favor of Barack Obama. I have lost count of the day's endorsements, but they haven't stopped since this morning and they have included prominent figures including former President Jimmy Carter, Rep. Clyburn, Debbie Dingell of Michigan (along with at least one other super from the state), Gov. Bresden of Tennessee (along with two other Tennessee Democrats), three supers from Delaware, Rep. Moore from Kansas, two supers from Massachusetts, Rep. Farr from California, a state official from Mississippi, a state Rep. from New Hampshire, and others. In addition, a couple of superdelegates who were supporting Clinton announced they were now endorsing Barack Obama, including DC's Ben Johnson, California's Kamil Hasan and, very importantly, Rep. Maxine Walters, one of Hillary's most important left-wing and African-American supporters.

All of these endorsements have put Obama a few delegates away from the magic mark of 2,118 and he is now sure of crossing that number in the next few hours just from the primaries of Montana and South Dakota, and even if he loses those states. The rapidity of the superdelegate flow in his favor leaves very few options to Hillary Clinton as it confirms that Obama will not only cross the threshold but he will do so by building a substantial margin, negating the only routes Clinton would have had going forward, as I explained this morning.

We will now wait to see tonight's results and whether Clinton can pull an upset and finish the race on a high note (though Obama is certainly favored in both of today's primaries). Surprisingly winning either could get Clinton some superdelegates, as 5 Montana superdelegates (including 2 Senators and the governor) and at least one South Dakota superdelegate (Sen. Johnson) will endorse their state's winner. We will also wait and see what Obama and Clinton will say in their speeches, whether he will confidently proclaim victory or try and leave her some space and whether she will bow out tonight and defiantly vow to survive a few more days. And McCain will also give a speech tonight, taking advantage of the last day of primary season to try and claim his share of the spotlight.

We will also be watching contested congressional primaries, including two crucial Senate contests: In New Mexico, Steve Pearce and Heather Wilson are engaged in a brutal battle to become the GOP's senatorial nominee, which means that one of these major Republican politician will see his or her career interrupted in the coming hours. In New Jersey, Frank Lautenberg is favored to win the Democratic primary against the challenge of Rep. Andrews who is contesting the leadership of a 91-years old Senator (note that there is slight hypocrisy in the Democrats' hitting McCain's age but officially supporting the candidacy of an incumbent 20 years McCain's senior).

In House races, meanwhile, the general election field will be set in some contests that have been confusing over the past few months as candidates have withdrawn, gotten back in, and as some contested primaries will be settled. This includes NM-01 and NM-02 (the first being the more obviously competitive), CA-04 (where GOP moderates and conservatives are waging a brutal war), AL-02 and AL-05 (both open seats held by the GOP and Democrats respectively), NJ-03 and NJ-07 (two open seats held by Republicans) and finally IA-03, where a progressive challenger is trying to unseat a more moderate Democratic incumbent.



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